The centre of an object
The central part of the Earth
The choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience
I have mentioned this word in one or two topics. Some of you with a more religious background might interpret this as being the soul (the immaterial part of a person; the actuating cause of an individual life), but that is a man-made idea and has no relevance to what I would like to discuss with you.
I would like you to try to follow what I am saying here, and imagine for yourself in your own mind if it is possible. So if you are all ready, I would now like to do a virtual striptease for you all.
Stripping in front of the mirror!
I stand in front of a mirror and I see my reflection. I have just showered and shaved. I am of average height. I wear a pair of jeans, fashionable boxer shorts, fashionable trainers, a hooded sweatshirt, t-shirt, wooden beads round my neck, and a hat. When I go out, that is how people will see me; and in their minds they will perceive what sort of person I am.
First, I remove my hat. I notice I have no hair on top of my head, just skin with a few stray hairs I have missed whilst shaving. I lost my hair in my twenties, and spent several years trying to cover it up because I was embarrassed by what people would say; that people would make fun of me, and I wouldn’t be attractive to women any more.
I move down, and see I have small hairs in my ears, something that reminds me of getting older. I have green/grey eyes which were once my best feature, or so I thought.
Now my eyes have developed wrinkles around them, and are looking tired. My nose is now slightly bent, possibly through heading a football, but I had never really noticed this before.
Age is catching up with me, and hairs are now protruding slightly from my nose, much to my girlfriend’s distaste. I have a cut on the corner of my upper lip where my friend’s dog bit me, eighteen years ago. My lips are thin on top and my mouth quite small. I open my mouth and examine my teeth. My front tooth is greyish white where a teenager head-butted me, because he was drunk, nineteen years ago; I have had it bleached several times, but it is still a bit grey, causing me to be self-conscious when I smile in photographs.
I have a smallish jaw, and recently noticed I am starting to develop a double chin where fat is gathering.
I take off my hooded top, t-shirt, and beads, and I examine myself. I have never been fat, but I notice I have developed fat around my chest area, which I find distasteful. I go to the gym and diet occasionally to get rid of it, but it is still there. My chest is quite hairy, and I still have a little bit of fat around my stomach, which I have persistently tried to get rid of, but have failed.
My shoulders are quite bony, with little tufts of hair on them, which seem to be increasing with each year I live. I notice that the work I am doing in the gym has increased my biceps slightly, and this pleases me, although my forearms and wrists are still quite skinny.
I have quite nice hands, I think, and my nails are always well manicured (people often say that this is because I was brought up by my mother, who did manicures for elderly people).
I turn and look over my shoulder at my back. My back is still strong, but little clumps of hair have formed under my shoulder blades. This disgusted me when I first noticed it, so I tried to wax them several years ago. This was an incredibly painful process, and I have never repeated it!
Moving down, my waist is still slim, although I have gone up a size in the last five years.
I now remove my jeans and my boxer shorts, and start to feel more self-conscious. I wonder if anyone is looking at me through the window, so I hurriedly close the curtains and shut the door. I examine my penis and testicles, which all too often rule men’s and women’s lives, but on close examination are no more than wrinkly bits of skin; neither “sexy,” nor exciting – actually, they’re rather dull.
A patch of hair protrudes above my penis, and wiry looking hairs protrude from my testicles. This is the part that people “groom” by shaving, or styling to make attractive to the opposite sex, but that all seems quite ridiculous now.
I turn around and examine my bottom. I have always thought I had a nice rounded bottom (or so some women have said). I am still pleased with it!
I move down to my thighs and calves which are hairy, and actually quite skinny, although feel strong to the touch. I move down to my skinny ankles and my feet, which poke out the bottom; they look in proportion. My toe nails are well trimmed and clean.
So this is me. This is how I was born. A lot smaller and slightly less hairy, but nevertheless, the same. I have got older, and fatter, and more wrinkled, but I am the same child who was ejected from my mother’s womb on the 6th april 1969, sometime after midnight.
As I stand here, I am like my ancestors who (allegedly) came down from the trees in africa, started walking upright, and developed the power of thought and language. I am not “cool,” I am nothing, yet I am something – I am tangible; I am “real.”
But naked I am vulnerable. I will get cold if I go outside. People will laugh at me, shout obscenities at me, pity me as mad; the police will probably arrest me for indecent exposure, and I will be locked up, and fined. No one will envy me, no one will respect me, no one will talk to me, or listen to me. All I am is a middle aged, hairy, lump of skin and bone. I am pathetic.
I cannot work as no one would employ me, and I am an embarrassment to my friends and family. Ultimately society rejects me. I do not fit in.
That’s incredible, isn’t it? I am the same person as when I had all my clothes on yet now I am naked people perceive me as different.
But that difference is all in the mind. It cannot exist anywhere else. A million years of evolution, and now we are embarrassed by who we are. You see, “who we are” has nothing to do with who we think we are, or what we want to be or become, it is the reflection of the naked self in the mirror. That is me.
I am not successful, that is purely external. I am not attractive, that is perception, and comparison. I am not rich; I have no pockets to carry my money in. I just have a body controlled by an advanced management computer, and an efficient pump. Do I feel free, powerful, or in tune with the natural world? No, I do not. In fact, I can’t wait to get dressed so I can become myself again!
Adding it all back
“Ahh that’s better!” I think, as I first cover my very “personal” genital area. At least if anyone came in and saw me, I wouldn’t be as embarrassed. I then put my trendy jeans on and cover my hairy skinny legs. Next come the socks, which cover my nicely trimmed nails (I’m not so worried about my feet). Next I pull on my t-shirt, and a baggy hooded sweatshirt, covering my slightly flabby chest, stomach, and clumps of hair on my back; which makes me start to look more human. On go the wooden beads round my neck, which have a slightly “ethnic” feel to them, and are in fashion; followed by the shoes, and finally the hat, to cover the bald head.
I look at myself in the full length mirror, and start to admire myself. I look coordinated and cool. I grab my car keys and coat, and head out.
As I park the car, and go to get out, I notice I am feeling pretty confident about myself. I don’t care if people look at me; in fact I positively welcome it. I know they could not be saying anything bad about the way I look. They may even admire me.
As I talk to people in shops, I know they will not think badly of me, because I have a good command of the english language, and have a polite accent. When I arrive at work, I know I am good at my job, and have good communication skills, and will fit in perfectly. I look forward to meeting my friends in the pub later, because I have a good sense of humour and they like me, and I look forward to spending time with my girlfriend, because she thinks I’m really nice, but then, this is all an illusion I have created.
Are you starting to get the idea? If I go to church, wear religious clothing, drive a specific type of car, live in a certain size house, or have a specific kind of job, people will think something about me. Naked, and without these bolt-on “accessories,” I am nothing in the world. I am pure animal. I am dangerous to people because I do not fit in with their idea of what a human is. Do you see?
Our species, homo sapiens, is born naked, but we are quick to cover him up; to fill his head with ideas of right and wrong, but that is not who he is. That is what the conditioners, such as parents and teachers want him to be.
Underneath our clothes we are all the same, human
The only thing that separates us is our minds.
Finding the core I speak of does not mean finding all the answers to the universe; it’s more like a starting point, where one can start to explore questions such as consciousness and interconnectivity. Without removing human bolt-ons, how can we ever hope to see the world as it truly “is?”
Only by laying ourselves bare in front of the mirror – without comparison or judgement – can the process begin.
I urge all of you to remove your clothes layer by layer, and start to uncover something more wondrous than anything humans could ever invent. Try it. Play with watching your thoughts as you imagine yourself naked in the street! Imagine what people would think of you without all your clever ideas and your possessions. What have you got to lose?
Only embarrassment, but that’s a good thing to lose.